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April 7, 2012
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April 17, 2012

Why We All Should Travel

 

 

“The natural world doesn’t come with an instruction leaflet, so it teaches you to use your creative imagination.”

 

It pretty much sums up what I think about travel. This is a part of the news article from BBC how nature deficit is harming children.

 

Throughout many interviews I did with fellow bloggers, a lot of them asked me why we all should travel. I always thought it was the thrill about the unknown, the excitement, the adrenaline from the new adventures and the freedom. But slowly, I’ve realized there was a much bigger underlining reason. It is about learning how to be independent and knowing who you really are.

 

Why we all should travel? 

 

Ever since I could read, I read a lot of books. My favourite thing to do when I was even before 10 was to visit a big bookstore and read all day long. My number one birthday gift was book or bookstore gift card. My eyesight got extremely bad because I always read until the moment I fell a sleep in the dark. My goal of each year in highschool was to read 100 books a year and I accomplished that few times. I was obsessed with science magazines. I’m not smart, but I was and am street smart. At least I thought I was.

 

Me, showing the adventure spirit.

 

I’m from a big city, but it wasn’t a big city when I was growing up. I grew up in a house that didn’t have a hot water. I was out in the field catching butterflies and dragonflies in summer. I went skating in winter and hiking in the mountain in autumn. I wasn’t particularly outdoorsy, but I enjoyed the nature.

 

When I was 20, I took a year off from my school. The reason? I got sick of studying everyday. I wanted to live in a different country. But I had no language skill, and I wasn’t sure I could do it. So what did I do for a year? I worked, saved and made my way to the very first backpacking trip to New Zealand. The short one-month of time completely changed my life and who I am. It was the time I was totally depending on myself, and my ability to make a decision. There was no one to call and ask for help. Everything was my responsibility. Everything I’ve known for 20 years was 14 hours away from me. I was alone. But, I survived. A girl from Korea who didn’t speak English and never backpacked before survived from her first solo backpacking trip.

 

I was a bookworm. I was a good student. I was smart. But, I was inexperienced. I was always ‘the one with the knowledge and the experience’ among my friends, but not quite compare to the wide and wild world.

 

What I learned was that there are so many things that I want to know that I didn’t know about. And still, I want to know better about me. Through out the experiences and expeditions I had during the years of travels made me realized that. Knowledge from the books certainly helped, but that was not all. It was the biggest change. The person who I was before the trip changed the person who this day. Well it sounds like I was a horrible person, but not that; I’m taking about the experience and mutuality. I was always ‘the confident one’ but I learned how to be modest and be confident at the same time. I learned how to take care of myself. I learned about me that I didn’t know about it before. I figured a lot of stuff by actually doing it. I learned how to appreciate what I had, not focused on what I didn’t have.

 

I’ve met so many immature people. People who don’t even know how to please themselves. They don’t know what to do when a little amount of free time on their hands. They are afraid to be alone, and they are refused to be different. For me, that’s immature. No matter how big house they live in, how old they are; that doesn’t really impress me. For me, they are just not-grown grown-ups. And I’m glad I’m not walking the same path.

 

The natural world doesn’t come with an instruction leaflet and also so do us. We’d never know who we really are unless we are trying. There’s no leaflet for any of that, and I’m writing it one page at a time. That is why we all should travel.

 

What do you think? What do you think why we all should travel?

 

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

50 Comments

  1. fiqahlee88 says:

    Been silent reader for sometimes,but decided to drop my first comment on this article.
    I couldn’t agree more. 😀 Just had my first backpacking trip with my sister in Seoul last Feb.
    Though we’ve travelled before. with tour package, but nothing come close compare to the experience from backpacking.
    It’s awesomely awesome , we got to see the real colors of the country, and we’re left wanting for more! 😀

    • Juno says:

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you decided to not to be silent anymore! 🙂 Glad you felt the experiences from backpacking. It takes a lot of courage and a lot of knowledge that books never taught us. That’s why we have to be out there, I think. And I’m glad I did, and still doing it. Hopefully I’m becoming wiser in time.

      • isabel says:

        hola juno, fue muy interesante para mi ver sobre korea tengo mucha curiosidad, y tu forma de hablar es tannnn linda y penetrante que increible,,,,,,,, quisiera irme ya

  2. Noel says:

    A great post! Well said. I totally understand what you are saying. It’s the same for me. I left my home because I want to find myself, who I truly am, and not what society tells me who I should be. I’m happy that you’ve chosen this path. Congrats!

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Noel! It was a long time coming, and I’m glad I’m doing it now when I’m more mature and have more experiences here and there. If I didn’t have the office job, I wouldn’t know what I felt like. And if I didn’t grow up in such a conservative society, I wouldn’t find out what I am capable of. Sometimes I wish I had a better condition, but there’s nothing I can do for past, but future.

  3. I agree with basically everything, except one thing, when you talk about being immature and not a real grown-up..

    Why do we need to be mature and grown-up anyway? I hope I never will be! But I love to be different and live an unconventional lifestyle, travel the world. I don’t necessarily think one has to do with the other.. I think it’s more ignorance and illusion that drives people away from themselves and towards the BS society tells us to do.

    Other than that, loved it!

    • Juno says:

      I think the meaning of ‘mature’ is just to know what you really want. Not the dictionary definition of mature. That’s what we are going for, and that’s what we are looking for as well. Following what society tells us to do is not the mature thing, weather we are following the society’s rule or not, liking it and know why we are really doing that is the important one. I think. 🙂

  4. Yup, I agree with you Juno, travelling teaches you as much about yourself as it does about the places you travel to. While it may change you, e.g. make you more independent, it also helps you to understand yourself better. I learned a lot on my last year of backpacking around the world.

    • Juno says:

      Thanks Jarmo! Glad you enjoyed the post. It’s amazing how much we learn from the travel. A month, few months, a year of travel could change us completely.

  5. GREAT post! The second-to-last paragraph is perfect. 🙂

  6. I couldn’t agree more. Freedom, independence, self-drive, learning to accept your own company and ultimately EXPLORING are the best forms of education and life experience!

    I know there are some people who are genuinely happy being at home but I wouldn’t trade in travelling for anything! I think everyone should at least try a backpacking trip once… some may be surprised how much they like it and how much it changes them for the better, or forever…

  7. ciki says:

    we should travel to live out our dreams and to learn that THE world is definitely larger than the four walls of our bedroom! Well done, great post Juno!

  8. Meaghan says:

    Seeing the world has made me a better artist. It allowed me to see alternative ways of doing things, made me more independent, opened my mind to new ideas and helped me with budgeting! Things I need to grow as an artist overall.

    • Juno says:

      I understand what you mean. The world is inspiring; we all need inspiration to work with. As an avid photographer, I got so many inspirational moments!

  9. David says:

    Thanks for writing this, Juno… it really resonated with me. Reminds me of the quote “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”

  10. I do agree with you Juno, that we should travel. As it not only broadens our vision and increases our knowledge but also help us to learn the virtue of tolerance. Tolerance to other people, their customs, religion and help to learn something new. For me travelling is like to get energy and know more people. Love your thinking very much. Keep it up. 🙂

  11. Will says:

    It’s a shame that we’re conditioned to take the safe route and travel the beaten path instead of taking a leap of faith ourselves and forge our own paths instead. One day will never come if we keep pushing it back .. I’m going through that right now and once I get my financial situation in control, I’ll be off and away 🙂

    “You have brains in your head.
    You have feet in your shoes
    You can steer yourself
    any direction you choose.”
    – Dr. Seuss

  12. Jem says:

    I couldn’t agree more. You’re definitely right Juno. We really need to have a real time experience in order to savor the things to enjoy in the course of our life and travel is a big factor. Going out in our comfort zone can give us a lot of lessons that we can’t find in book pages.

  13. Fiona says:

    I agree with you. It is one thing to be able to read about a certain place, but it is better to be there yourself.

  14. Walk the untrodden path and realize the different things of life that what a famous poet told in his poem. I don’t remember the name of the poet but still remember the essence of the poem which explained very intensely the goal behind traveling. And the same thing I find here – the way you think about traveling. Great blog and loved to read the need to travel.

  15. cmichaelsny says:

    Many European countries have been around for a long time, and each is unlike any other. Whether you’re a foodie or a culture buff, travel to Europe to experience that richness firsthand..

  16. Goody says:

    I was just thinking about the fact that it’s longtime since I don’t go around, when this post has come about. Travelling is an experience that makes you grow. There is nothing better than meeting other people, sharing your own experience and melting with other traditons and cultures. people who travel are usually more openminded and easygoing than the others.

  17. Tanaris says:

    Life’s too short too enjoy God’s masterpiece. I travel to explore new places, culture and taste every delicacy of my destination country or place. It’s a very good investment especially if you have an excellent camera to capture every special moment 🙂

  18. tinafreysd says:

    Western culture is rooted in Ancient Greece, circa 800 B.C. Since then, different empires have assimilated the continent, resulting in a history that reflects indigenous origins and the marks left by conquerors. No matter where you go, you’ll find historic monuments and even some archaeological sites, many of them well preserved.

  19. Locsin says:

    One thing that I love to spent in traveling is that I discover different beautiful places and capture for a kind of memories…

  20. Ayngelina says:

    Lovely post Juno. Travel changes us, for the better.

  21. Greg says:

    I can’t agree more! Travel provides a better understanding of the world. Have you tried volunteering?

  22. Rita Kunnan says:

    When I once asked my traveler friend about what all he had seen across the world so far, he replied – “I’ve seen more than I can remember and I remember more than I’ve seen”. This is what traveling is to me – exploring the unseen. It’s so overwhelming sometimes to realize that the other parts of the world are so different from places where I live, and yet so similar, there’s always an exciting thing, extraordinary people & cultures and great food to experience.

    I’m glad Juno that you’ve found your calling and are doing what you enjoy the most. Great adventures and learning to in your coming life. Cheers 🙂

  23. Juno, this is a great post! I am having goose bumps 🙂 Yes, we all should travel to learn more about us, about life, about people, about the world …

  24. Rob Yonaitis says:

    At the end of the day there is something true about the philosopher saying that “The World is a book and if you do not travel you have only read one page”

    Sounds like you are still reading a your book!

  25. Simon Fuller says:

    I am really appreciate that you shared with us such wonderful information. It is a good thing to travel and just be free from all the day to day hustles. It is good for the health.

  26. Nermine A K says:

    Another silent reader, I’m still 20 & travelling was always a dream of mine but with a society that wants me to do just what they want not giving me the chance to find & be me I tried to follow a path someone drew for me ducking my head to the rules, still travelling passion just got the best out of me & I’m planning to catch that dream & write it down on reality stones. Starting from the magical land of my home country Egypt I’ll just take that trip to find me 🙂 I love your blogging/writing…

    • Juno says:

      Hi Nermine, thanks for sharing your story. I totally understand what you mean by ‘what society wants you to do’. I am from one of those society. Traveling is not a person’s job, it’s a luxury. To live different types of life is completely forbidden, but here I am against all the odds, traveling the world. It has been hard, and I don’t think it’s getting any easier but at least I don’t regret making that decision. After all, this is my life and I’m the one who will regret at the end if I don’t live the life I want. Cheers to you and good luck. If you want, I’m here to talk!

  27. Hakan kutlu says:

    dearest juno. I am happy to read your travel experiences. pls keep sharing. i am a travel guide. professioanl for 16 years. living in istanbul. you are welcome to istanbul and my country Turkey. pls keep in touch…

  28. Wanderplex says:

    A thought-provoking post! I definitely think that travel opens you up to so many new experiences and is such a wonderful learning experience. Even after we come home, that new perspective we developed stays with us and shapes the way we live our lives.

  29. Susan says:

    Hmmm…I’m not sure I think everyone should travel. Having been in Thailand for 8 long months, I sometimes wish some of the tourists had stayed home with their terrible behavior and unwillingness to learn about and respect the culture in which they’re a visitor.

  30. Priya says:

    I feel like I’m going through the same thing that you went through. I’ve been wanting to travel for so long but keep finding excuses to why I can’t. And yes, I want to experience the unknown and have adventures but I feel like it’s something that will help me “grow-up” and learn how to take care of myself.

    • Juno says:

      I hear you. No matter what the situation is, it is ‘you’ at the end who makes the decision. It is definitely something that helped me grow up, and constantly helping me in a lot of ways. I wouldn’t be the same person if I haven’t left my home. But here I am, in the wild world, learning about the world. I’m sure you’ll find your way out.

  31. When I started traveling, I learned to understand other cultures, their traditions, transportation system, cuisine, and a little of their languange. A conversation with locals will teach you something not written in books or websites. Reading history in books is also different when you see the place in your eyes. It’s fun and addicting, even though there are bad experiences sometimes. 🙂

    • Juno says:

      I agree. Leaning languages is really fun. I’m thinking about learning another language. Learn English was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It opened up so much to me. Also food, ah, the food. Tasting all the great local food made me realized how lucky I am to grow up in Korea, learnt about the food naturally.

  32. Jeruel says:

    I agree with what you said here. We have a program in our school called On-site Learning (OSL). It’s a mobile class where we bring our students to different places in the provinces & cities for 10 days. We subscribe to our slogan, ” Classroom without walls, Learning without borders”. It’s an innovative approach to teach students about history, society & culture, politics & governance, and heroes, like Rizal, who himself was also a traveller.

  33. Julie says:

    Very well told, thank you for sharing. I didn’t really start traveling until 4 years ago. Like you said, not only do you learn so much about yourself but you start to appreciate the many different cultures, people, foods, traditions, and history that you experience through traveling. It is only when we travel that we truly understand. It is by understanding that we change who we are and want we believe.

  34. Charlie says:

    It’s definitely hard to know what you really want, especially when you’re stuck in a society where everyone conforms and the media feeds us images of what we then come to believe we want. Travel definitely helps with this!

  35. Danielle says:

    Reading this definitely encouraged me to save up and travel. Always tell myself to do so but ended up giving myself many excuses. Now that I feel stucked and tied down by all these rules and regulations, I just wanna get out here. Thanks for writing. =)

    • Juno Kim says:

      Thanks for reading Runaway Juno. Glad you got inspired by my article. Travel was a great method that helped me grow, but there are also many other ways to be more independent. But definitely seeing different things, landscapes, and culture become great asset in life. I recently talked at Webcamp, and wrote about the experience here. You might find it helpful: http://runawayjuno.com/runaway-tales/giving-talk-webcamp-kk/
      We should have a cup of coffee sometime!

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